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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Friday, February 06, 2009

entry arrow5:47 AM | SundaySalon Interviews Bino A. Realuyo

SundaySalon's Nita Noveno has a fascinating interview with poet and novelist Bino A. Realuyo, author of The Umbrella Country. His response to a question about moving writing and publishing into the electronic age is particularly thought-provoking. Here's an excerpt:

Nita Noveno: Nowadays authors can bypass the publisher and self-publish, and for a select few, this has lead to success. The rise of electronic tools like Amazon's Kindle, which cuts down on publishing costs, translates to less money for writers. With these trends, the individual reader's taste is more pronounced and less dependent on what comes out of the gates of the conventional literary establishments. What are your thoughts of the way publishing is moving towards the electronic age?

Bino Realuyo: This goes along my previous response of leveraging power in new ways, especially in the new world of technology. Your question touches on the scholar Howard Gardner's "multiple intelligences" theory, where every person has a unique way of learning and acquiring information and knowledge. One size no longer fits all. I am excited about the changes in literature and readership. I was part of the first generation of writers who migrated from typewriters to laptops. During my early years as a poet, I was visited by a New York Times photographer who asked me to pose next to piles of manuscript, emulating a Hemingway perhaps. I told him I didn't have such, and then showed him floppy disks instead. The photographs didn't get published, but the astonished look on the man's face remained in my mind. Now, a decade later, I am once again experiencing another shift in technology, this time, in readership. I think technology will partly address the unfortunate privileging of writers by very few mainstream publishers, as if they're being selected into a special country club of sorts. It is extremely difficult to penetrate mainstream publishing, especially if you're a writer-of-color. There is almost a quota for how many ethnics get published in a year. Unfortunately, Asian Americans are put in the same bowl. If a Filipino writer is put next to an Indian writer, who do you think would they choose?

I believe technology will democratize literature. But, we as writers need to participate in the process. We can't simply sit passively and wait for things to change around us. The transformation can't happen without our input. If these so called "digital natives" are reading differently, and are using hand held devices to read literature, then how can we create new ways of writing such that we accommodate this shift in reading styles? There is much to think about and discuss, but it has to happen now. I can never separate activism from literature.

Read more here.

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